Two Kinds of Service

I’ve worked in large organizations and in small ones.

Though they’ve consistently been mission-driven regardless of scale, we tend to talk about it differently in different contexts.

In large organizations, everyone serves the organization and the mission: it’s assumed that keeping the organization going will serve the mission, which in turn serves the client.

In small organizations, we serve the client, on the logic that providing ever-better service is how we advance our mission.

Since I was reared in large organizations, I frequently find myself confronting the old instinct to play internal status games or to debate the mission rather than deliver the service.

Being clear about a meaningful mission is important. But a mission doesn’t mean much if it’s not actually serving anyone.